Getting a dog is so exciting, they just make everything better! When putting your time and money into anything it’s best to look at it as an investment and do your research. If you’re reading this then thank you for doing yourself and your future dog a huge favor. My hope is to help you avoid headaches, heartache, and help dogs to avoid rehoming.
Choosing the Right Breed for You
The first thing that I must stress is the breed you choose. This is perhaps the MOST important and yet MOST overlooked aspect. This foundation assures that you and your dog will be most happy and compatible. Researching breeds makes you aware of things like shedding or energy levels. If you’re a person with allergies or an elderly couple with a leisurely lifestyle you need to know what each breed has to offer. Other breed-specific considerations are if you travel a lot you may want to consider a smaller, calmer breed. Likewise, if you don’t mind spending more money on food or care about picking up large droppings (TMI) you may not want to exclude a large breed. The good news is that there’s likely not one breed perfect for you, but rather a several to choose from. If you have a current dog or another animal in the home, then ahead of committing to a new dog allow them to meet. Make sure they are a good fit. This is especially true if the new dog is a rescue or older dog.
Broaden Your Thinking
You may adore your neighbor’s dog, but this isn’t necessarily an indicator that all dogs of that breed will work for you. There’s a lot that goes into breeding a dog. This includes the breed standard and overall expectations, but you must consider the type of environment that the dog has previously been exposed to or raised in, not to mention that individual characteristics and temperaments vary based on the breeding parents––which brings me to my next point….
Honor Each Dog Individually
Many families on the heels of the heartbreak of losing their family dog choose to seek out another furry companion. This is often a wonderful way to fill the void in your home and heart. Whether or not this applies to you, I would just respectfully ask that you choose to honor your newly acquired dog or puppy as an individual. Don’t place any undue expectations on him/her to be exactly like your dearly departed doggie or another dog you may currently have. This is true even if the dog is the same breed and even from the same breeder. Each dog is unique and has a personality of its own. Let’s face it, no dog can ever take the place of another. As long as you are consciously being aware of this it won’t doom your next dog to live in another dog’s shadow. Alongside this, please consider the next thing.
You really have to ask yourself if it’s the right time for a new dog. It’s hard not to be clouded by the idea of a cute and perfect dog to get to the nitty-gritty of HOW to achieve that. Circumstances to consider are a new baby on the way, moving soon, possible job change, impending health changes, you recently got another dog or pet, or any other of a number of things that can compromise the time you can give to your new dog. Please be aware, no dog does well nor should have to cope for long periods alone, unsupervised, or in a crate. If you wish to add a dog to your home be prepared to give the animal what it needs and deserves in order for them to give you what you desire––lots of love and affection. Additionally, regardless if the dog is older and already trained or just a puppy, you should always anticipate spending time training so they know what to expect from YOU and your household. Another important note, please consider the lifespan of your dog. And do not EVER go into pet ownership with the mentality that if it doesn’t work out you can always rehome it. If you can’t go all in, don’t go there at all. You owe it to the animal to not have to learn by lack of training what has been acceptable in your home only to face rehoming. That will likely and sadly be a repeating pattern in that dog’s life. If you don’t have the time to commit to training in the first place, please wait until you do. Sorry for not sugar-coating this, but I would not be doing you or the dog any favors if I did.
A Dog’s Needs
In all the searching and researching this should cross your path. A dog has needs. The needs are both physical and mental. The smarter the breed, the higher the mental need. The smaller the dog, it likely increases physical needs (as in medical). The larger the breed, it likely increases the physical needs (as in activity level). Be prepared to factor and budget in things like veterinary care/insurance, toys and bedding, food, and training.
Good luck on your puppy journey! Be sure to comment and If I’ve left anything out let me know!